Best Bites

Recap: 30 More Best Bites of 2014

For the third year in a row, I’ve spent all December celebrating the rest of my favorite bites and sips from the past year. These are all dishes from 2014 that I didn’t have a chance to cover as Best Bites when I originally enjoyed them. You can check out all 30 below, listed in chronological order.

Here’s to another great year of eating and drinking!

As always, thanks for reading – see you in 2015!

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Best Bites, Chicago

2014 Best Bite #3: Paratha tacos, En Hakkore

For the third year in a row, I’m using each day in December to celebrate the rest of the best bites (and sips) that I didn’t get to blog about in 2014, posted in chronological order. Browse all of this year’s Best Bites, or look back at year-end Best Bites from 2012 and 2013.

Paratha tacos, En Hakkore

Paratha tacos with spicy pork, kimchi, onion, mushroom, cilantro, lettuce, pickled radish, and En Hakkore sauce

Why it’s another 2014 Best Bite: Blending flavors of Korean and Indian cuisine, these tacos were fusion at its finest. The pan-fried flatbread served as a pleasantly flaky vehicle for the spicy, crunchy filling. They were easily the best non-traditional tacos I’ve had in Chicago.

View another Best Bite from En Hakkore.

The details: En Hakkore, 1840 N Damen Ave., Chicago.

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Best Bites, Chicago

This week’s Best Bite: Sashimi bibimbap, En Hakkore, and gelato, Black Dog Gelato

Sashimi bibimbap, En Hakkore

Sashimi bibimbap, En Hakkore

Why it’s this week’s Best Bite: The beautiful spring weather over the weekend called for a leisurely midday lunch, starting at a fairly new Korean place that I hadn’t tried yet and ending with dessert at a tried-and-true favorite. First up was En Hakkore, nestled in the heart of Bucktown. The small menu offers mostly traditional Korean dishes, with a few fusion-y twists, such as paratha tacos on fried Indian flatbread. My sashimi bibimbap, a stunning bowl of rice topped with more than a dozen kinds of vegetables and four varieties of sashimi, was nothing short of a work of art. Once it was all mixed together with housemade gochujang (Korean hot sauce), it wasn’t quite as pretty, but the fresh, bright flavors in each bite echoed the sunshine streaming through the windows. My dining companion went for a more typical bibimbap with bulgogi-style marinated beef, which was just as delicious.

Blueberry french toast and turkish coffee gelato, Black Dog Gelato

Blueberry french toast and turkish coffee gelato, Black Dog Gelato

We could have ventured either direction on Damen Avenue to reach a Black Dog Gelato location, but ended up going north to the Roscoe Village outpost. I’ve been a Black Dog fan ever since I volunteered at the Luxury Ice Cream Festival four years ago and was assigned to help out owner Jessie Oloroso at her booth. From the first bite of salted peanut, one of her first signature flavors, I was hooked. Since then, the bold gelato has received nationwide attention, and now shows up on the dessert menu at restaurants all over the city. While I’m always content with Black Dog classics, such as goat cheese-cashew-caramel or malted vanilla, I usually go for whatever’s new and interesting that day. After a lot of tasting, I landed on a breakfast-inspired combination of cinnamon-scented blueberry french toast and cardamom-laced turkish coffee. So good. We’re right at the beginning of gelato season, so if you haven’t tasted this gelato yet, just go. And then go again.

The details: En Hakkore, 1840 N Damen Ave., Chicago; Black Dog Gelato, 859 N Damen Ave. and 1955 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago.

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